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The Sunday Catch-Up & Current Lifestyle Favourites #10


I've been wanting to do a new lifestyle post for so long because it feels like it's been ages and I've been up to so much, but my content schedule has been swamped! Today I'm finally sitting down to share and I hope you enjoy.

I've had a really great few weeks with friends and family! We had a family occasion a little while back, so it was great to see some of my relatives that don't live nearby and we don't get to see very often. One of the best things about being back in Birmingham has been being so close to my grandparents and seeing a lot more of them, which is something I value more and more as time goes on. That same weekend I went to visit one of my really good university friends who recently moved back near me with her boyfriend. We've had a bit of a dinner and movie tradition going - the first time round she made dinner for us and a few other university friends I haven't seen in a while and we watched Get Out, which was even more brilliant the second time round! Then another time we got a really good takeaway, had some wine and watched It (you can check out my review below).

Another big thing for me was our office Oscars award ceremony! I'd been part of the committee planning the event for months, doing everything from finding a venue with food and a good drinks menu and a band to negotiating life-sized Oscar statues, making sure the presenters had the right envelope... and blowing up DOZENS of balloons! It went off so perfectly, and once the awards were out of the way, we got to relax and enjoy the band and the bar. We had such a great night getting dressed up and recognising people's achievements as we as a few joke awards - it's one of the highlights of the year in terms of work socials and we got such a good turnout!

It was recently one of my best friend's birthdays in London, so in our usual style we made a weekend of it! After everyone arrived in the east end, we went for a bit of a sushi feast at Sushnoen and had a few drinks before getting a relatively early night ahead of Saturday's main event. During the daytime on Saturday we met another of our friends for a really yummy brunch at Friends of Ours (check out the delicious pancakes I had here) before doing a spot of shopping. My friend's birthday was a house party so we had a bit of prep before everyone arrived, getting cocktails and nibbles ready. It was such a good night with such a great turnout and a few old familiar faces. I really remembered how awesome house parties are - it was like being back at university! The next day it was boozy brunch at Clerkenwell Grind before I headed back on the train.

The snow earlier in the month meant a bit of a change of plans for my weekend when the Beast from the East descended. We actually all got sent home from work at midday so I took a gamble and decided to head to Oxford to see my friend for the weekend. Luckily everything was running fine and we had a chilled out afternoon before I got to attend her formal dinner (which involved Latin, robes and people really keen to take your plates away...) and meet all the people I'd been hearing about since she started there in September. We also went to a Liquid Lounge mixer between a couple of colleges, which was fun. Saturday started with brunch at Gail's Bakery, where I think I ate about 5 different savoury and sweet baked bits alongside my actual meal... We did a spot of shopping and spontaneously went to see the Black Panther (review below!) at Curzon because we'd both been wanting to see it for aaaages but everyone we'd asked had already been. It was great to sip mimosas whilst watching a film! That evening we did a cheese and wine night with a movie, and another friend joined us, as we had tickets for the TEDx Oxford event on Saturday (which was an all-day thing) and didn't want to go too hard. A few more of our friends joined the next day for the event and we had a really good day. One or two of the speakers didn't quite connect with me but there was enough interesting stuff in there to make it really worthwhile (the theme was the brain, the mind and mental health). Though I was pretty exhausted on the rail replacement service home... 

A couple of weeks back I had the opportunity to go to an event with Stila for their new Spring collection (you can check out my review of their liquid eyeshadows here), which was lovely and a great opportunity to meet some of the Birmingham bloggers. I actually met Dorota from Beauty Drama Queen off the back of that for lunch - she's totally lovely and I feel as though we have a lot in common in terms of where we are with our blogs and working full time alongside it, so definitely check out her blog if you don't already read it. 

After the Stila event I headed back to Manchester for a bit of a long weekend. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Titanic Spa with my mum, which was incredible and just what I needed - I'll be doing a post on it later in the month. The following day we went for a spot of shopping at the Trafford Centre, had brunch and went to the cinema before an evening with a Dine in for Two from M&S (I never miss this because it's such good value!) The Sunday was Mother's Day so we headed to one of my favourite places in Manchester for lunch and Prosecco: Evelyn's, which has such a good selection if you're vegan or vegetarian.

Current Lifestyle Favourites

Black Panther | I just have so many feelings about this film but I'm going to try to write a coherent paragraph on it here! I'll assume you know the basic details: technological secret African kingdom, a fight for the throne, a magical metal everyone wants to get their hands on etc. I've really struggled to get excited about superhero movies in recent years; they've just felt so same-y and uninspiring... but then along came the Black Panther with new faces, a brilliant story and an incredible new setting (I'm so over dreary, rainy skyscrapers). The plot is very strong compared to other superhero films and the world-building is effortless. It's almost like superhero meets Shakespeare meets Afro futurism. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see an almost all-black cast (Martin Freeman plays the 'reverse-token who doesn't progress the plot much' in a pretty self-aware way) and a positive portrayal of Africa. All of the actors are great; especially Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright and I also have to say Andy Serkis was pretty impressive as one of the red herring villains in a rare live action performance. The settings, the effects, the mythology, the costume design, the humour - just everything comes together to make a fantastic cinematic experience. It also makes very real points relevant to the world we live in and (unlike a lot these kinds of films) introduces a lot of grey morality, which keeps things interesting and makes you think. It's definitely breathed life back into a genre I was kind of 'over' as well as hopefully paving the way for more ethnically diverse films to be greenlit in Hollywood.

I, Tonya | If you haven't heard of the infamous incident Tonya Harding is famous for then go and Google it NOW, because you couldn't make it up! This is a darkly comedic biopic features lots of fourth wall breaking and is framed with a series of interviews with those involved in what happened. Essentially it follows Olympic skater Tonya whose mother is pretty abusive in her pushiness to make her a star. Tonya is widely derided as being 'white trash' and not the kind of person the US wants representing it on the world stage and has to work at a diner in between competitions. Her personal life is also out of control due to her volatile and abusive relationship with her husband. I know a lot of people think this film glorified Tonya and made her out to be innocent but I didn't get that from it; both at the start and the end it's pointed out that this is her version of events and her constant commentary that various things 'weren't her fault' is pretty much a running joke. Both Margot Robbie (in an amazing transformation) as Tonya and Allison Janney as her mother are brilliant in this film.

It | If you want old school scares with a nice dose of nostalgia and humour then definitely watch this Stephen King horror adaptation! It tells the story of a town terrorised by a monster that emerges once a generation to prey on children - who are the only ones that can see it. It takes the form of whatever they fear and usually appears as a super-creepy clown. The story revolves around a group of kids who decide to hunt it down and destroy it. In some ways it's also incredibly dark - all of the children have other terrible things going on in their lives; there's bullying, abuse and grief all in the mix.  

Detroit | This was kind of a downer to watch after we'd been super-empowered by Black Panther earlier in the day! However it's an important historical film I'd encourage anyone to watch about the 1967 Detroit riots. It's not easy to watch; it's two and a half hours of being anxious and on edge with the tension just escalating and escalating from a difficult opener and then throughout the rest of the run time. In a motel, several rogue police officers essentially interrogate and hold hostage a group of mainly black people. The situation escalates and the officers begin to try and cover up what has happened. It's essentially a punch in the stomach in the form of a film and was released last year on the 50th anniversary of the incident, which for me was a sobering reminder that this all happened within living memory.

Atlanta Monster | I'm seriously into my true crime and I can't believe I'd never heard about the events of 1979-1981 in Atlanta. This podcast investigates the Atlanta child murders, with each episode putting a different element of the story under the microscope. Between these years, at least 28 children and 2 adults were killed in the city, all black and generally between the ages of 9 and 14. Based on largely circumstantial evidence, a man called Wayne Williams was convicted of the adult murders, so the rest of the killings were then attributed to him and the case was closed. I always find that the most fascinating true crime stories hold up a mirror to the society they were committed within - otherwise, I suppose how would someone get away with it? The areas covered include: the events surrounding Williams' arrest, whether there could really have been only one person responsible, the forensic evidence, the racial tensions with the police in the city at the time and the desperation to get a conviction. If you're interested in true crime then this is an absolute must-listen and all the episodes are now available.

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge | This book obviously has a title that makes you sit up and take notice, plus it's a very quick read so I'd recommend picking it up. In Britain there's a definite lack of discourse about race, especially in comparison to the US. This book essentially tells the history of race and racism in this country from pre-slavery to today (including what's been brushed under the carpet). It just lays out the problem in a way that's accessible, concise and put into context with real life examples. My only real concern is that it might be 'preaching to the choir' because to pick up this book you'd have to have a level of wokeness, so the people who would really benefit from it will probably never read it.

Revolut | I'm seriously trying to get my finances in order and this has been a godsend. Essentially it's a pre-payment card that comes with an amazing app that breaks down exactly what you spend your money on (you can also choose two currencies so you can spend abroad whilst travelling without getting a rubbish exchange rate or transaction fees). It really has been enlightening and has helped me understand where I really need to find less expensive ways of living, which did contain a few surprises for me!

A New Blog Look | You may have noticed I've spruced things up around here a little bit! I did really like my old look but I was having a few technical issues and unfortunately the person who made it is no longer active in blog design, so I took the opportunity to invest in something new. I'm really happy with it; it's clean, functional and visual, which is what I really wanted. I hope you like it too and find things easy to navigate.



I hope you're having a lovely Bank Holiday weekend!
What have you been doing, watching, reading and listening to lately?


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18 comments

  1. This is my first time visiting your blog and I love it! I hope you're having a lovely Easter weekend.

    J x
    http://lookingoodfeelinfine.com/

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  2. Work Oscars sounds so stressful, well done for pulling it off! :) I love posts like this to catch up on! :) I cannot wait for summer to catch up on books and movies, I'm so stressed with college/work/blog at the moment that I don't have time to do anything other than work and stress! I cannot wait to see Black Panther! It is top of my list!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  3. Lovely to hear you've had a great few weeks, the office Oscars is such a cool idea, I've never heard of that before! Well done with that! Black Panther is a film I'm in love with too, I really want to see it again, it's one of those ones that has a huge impact!
    Also, I never miss a Dine in for Two deal either, M&S food is the best of the best!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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  4. It's always so nice to read a little bit more about the life going on behind the blog, and I like the specifics at the end as well. I noticed your new blog design and I love how it's clean and simplistic but still pretty and inviting!

    -Sophie xx
    Cherries & Perfume

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  5. I loved the new It, it was so well made! Thanks for the recommendations about Detroit it sounds really interesting x

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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  6. I definitely need to watch black panther and I tonya, they seem like such awesome movies and I've heard endless good things about them.

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

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  7. Sounds like you've had a busy but great month! We're gradually settling into a games night routine with friends, may have to alternate with a movie night too! I've never heard of Atlanta Monster either, I fascinated by true crime, will definitely look this up to listen to on my walks! I still need to watch Black Panther, it looks amazing. Same with I, Tonya, I've heard such good things about both. Doubt I'll ever watch It, too much of a chicken 😊

    Honestly Aine

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  8. I definitely want to watch I Tonya!

    Candice | beautycandyloves.co.za

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  9. I'm glad this month was good for you! I regret not seeing Black Panther as I'm pretty sure it's not in theaters anymore, so many people enjoyed it! Oh well, will have to purchase the DVD once that comes out.

    Oh and fyi, I tried reading your Stila review, because it sounds fab, but the link doesn't work. Just thought I'd let you know :)

    Reine | The Blush Luxe

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  10. D'oh - thanks for getting me know. I changed the URL and forgot to update this link - now fixed :) x

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  11. Sounds like a busy but good few weeks. Ah you met Dorota! She's so lovely xx

    www.lpagebeauty.com

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  12. Lovely photo and post xx
    www.basicallyalice.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. Sounds like you've had a great month! I feel like I've seen hardly anything in the cinema or any series in recent times! I think Lady Bird was the last film, which I loved! Delighted that you met Dorota! xx

    Beautylymin

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  14. You certainly had a great month! I really enjoyed Black Panther too - a great movie and different from the norm of its genre x

    franklyflawless.com

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  15. I know what you mean - it's a pretty busy / stressful time of year! x

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  16. That sounds like such a laugh :) and yeah Atlanta Monster is so gripping if you're into true crime x

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  17. I really want to see Lady Bird :) x

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